The Agony and the Ecstasy

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The biographical story of Michelangelo’s troubles while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II. From the age of magnificence comes a new magnificence in motion pictures

ACTORS :  Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Diane Cilento

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1965

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

 

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The Agony and the Ecstasy  Pope Julius II (Sir Rex Harrison) is eager to leave behind works by which he will be remembered. To this end he cajoles Michelangelo (Charlton Heston) into painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When not on the battlefield uniting Italy, the Pope nags Michelangelo to speed up his painful work on the frescoes.

Historical picture about two greatest Renaissance figures : Michelangelo and Julius II

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy  The picture deals with Michelangelo or Michael Angel (Charlton Heston) who is working on the Carrara’s marble creating sculptures and he is then ordered by Pope Julius II (Rex Harrison) the painting of as called Sistina chapel (that’s why it was built by Pope Sisto) . Meanwhile , they’ll develop various relationships with other Renaissance’s important people . The film is correctly based on historical deeds and appearing famous roles , such as : Raphael (Tomas Milian) who shows up painting the ¨Athenas’s school¨, Bramante (Harry Andrews) builder of the Vatican dome that hold his name , Girlandaio and the Florencia Medicis ‘s descendants (Diane Cilento and Adolfo Celi) . Besides , the film paces itself the confrontation between Julius II troops and the French /German army for the possession of the Pope’s states . There are epic and impressive battles where the Pope himself fights enemies . The motion picture describes specially the creation of the enormous paintings on the ceiling and the difficulties that Michael Angel is suffering to achieve the immortal legacy . The Pope Julio II also will assign him the realization of his tomb .

The feature obtained a limited success and had a moderated box-office ; however , being nowadays better valued than the past . First-range acting by the two main actors : Charlton Heston and Rex Harrison , both of whom are magnificent . However , Rex Harrison did not get along with Charlton Heston at all during shooting ; in fact , twelve years later, while filming as secondary actors ¨Crossed swords¨ (1997) by Richard Fleischer , Rex avoided him utterly . Leon Shamroy’s cinematography is rousing , the colorful paintings are glowing and brilliant ; spectacularly showing Bible’s scenes at the Sixtina Chapel . Alex North musical score is riveting (like ¨Spartacus¨ who he equally composed). The sets are overwhelming and breathtaking , they were stunningly realized by production designer John De Cuir . In addition , evocative as well as adequate costumes by Oscarized Vittorio Nino Novarese . Carol Reed production and direction were excellent , he has got many experience in a long career and had directed other classic movies (The third man) . Rating: Very good , above average and well worth seeing.

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